Lowering the barriers to IoT application development

Lowering the barriers to IoT application development

Technology News |
There are many project aims when developing a proof-of-concept for IoT (Internet of Things) applications, not least high levels of functionality, robust reliability and ease of use. However, achieving these ambitions in a timely and cost-effective manner demands project expediency, which is why designers seek out solutions that can offer specific technical advantages when developing professional proof-of-concept.
By Jean-Pierre Joosting


The latest IoT system-on-module (SOM) starter kits can help developers accelerate the design phase of projects, and a prime example is SensiBLE from Israeli company SensiEDGE.

SensiBLE is a customizable solution for developers seeking to design IoT products without getting involved with hardware development or production logistics. This is as a result of its ‘hardware ready’ configuration; the module includes 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis magnetometer and 3-axis digital gyroscope, as well as pressure, relative humidity and temperature sensors. Also included are a microphone and an ambient light sensor, along with BLE 4.1 capabilities and a low power ARM® 32-bit Cortex®-M4 CPU with FPU. It so happens that, despite the high level functionality, this particular IoT SOM starter kit comes in one of the world’s smallest form factors at just 20- x 30-mm.

Of course, speeding the time-to-market with professional proof-of-concept is easier said than done. However, SensiBLE enables wireless connectivity without any RF experience or expertise. In addition, the kit is CE and FCC certified, while the firmware, Bluetooth stack, protocols and profiles are readily embedded, allowing developers to fast-track their design ideas into prototypes – and on to the market.

Fast cloud connection

SensiBLE can also connect in seconds to all the major cloud systems, including IBM Cloud, AWS (Amazon Web Services) IoT and Microsoft Azure. Choosing which cloud service to leverage is often influenced by project specifics and developer preference, although each has its own merits.

IBM Cloud, for example, allows users to take advantage of numerous relational to NoSQL databases without compromising consistency, integrity or performance. AWS offers IoT-specific services such as AWS Greengrass and AWS IoT Core help users to collect and send data to the cloud. As for Microsoft Azure it describes itself as an open, flexible, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform.


Swift as an arrow

Whichever platform is preferred, for those looking to simplify cloud solutions for customers, Arrow Connect™ is rapidly becoming the go-to resource. Arrow Connect is a universal ingestion layer that permits developers to connect any device over any protocol to any cloud. As a result, the plumbing of data from edge to cloud has never been easier. The solution offers security, scale, flexibility, open APIs and extensibility as core principles, ultimately ensuring that products can be brought to market faster.

In addition, Arrow Connect can seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Azure, IBM or AWS, while another option is integration with the developer’s own custom data ingestion to build a solution while the system’s multi-tenant, hierarchical SaaS platform continues to facilitate device provisioning and management.

SensiEDGE and Arrow have been collaborating since September 2017, with SensiBLE becoming the first product available through the tie-up. SensiEDGE also signed up to Arrow’s recently introduced SoM programme, which includes layers for community boards, embedded vision and embedded processors. The programme is designed to help developers get their products to a production-ready state as quickly as possible and provides a choice of building blocks to accelerate development.

Arrow’s latest IoT activities go beyond components sales and engineering support. Many customers often struggle – not only with hardware development but also with higher application levels. That is why Arrow started recent programs like “Sensor to Sunset” to provide mentoring to customers looking to connect sensors to the cloud. Arrow Connect cloud service helps anyone customise a dashboard and add the relevant analytics to their end-product. As for the SensiEDGE IoT products portfolio, it answers all challenges by providing hardware and firmware products, as well as development services like gateway connectivity, Android/iOS SDK and cloud analytics.


Security assured

Practicality and security are at the heart of Arrow Connect and SensiBLE. In fact, the latter is cyber protected by a hardware link layer of AES-128 encryption and decryption. Power can be supplied directly using a standard 3V coin-cell battery, a pair of AAA batteries or any other power source from 2 to 7V.

All of this serves to simplify proof-of-concept for applications that include Voice to Text, activity recognition, wearable sensors, or environmental applications, for example.

Figure 1: Ready Functions. Arrow’s SoM programme is designed to help developers get their products to a production-ready state as quickly as possible and provides a choice of building blocks to accelerate development.

Explosive growth

Ultimately SensiEDGE helps developers and start-ups to build proof-of-concept and launch to the market with ready modules available off-the-shelf. Although fully customizable, many customers are able to use SensiBLE in their end device as-supplied, which is very convenient as the market expects to see continued, robust growth for IoT solutions in 2018 and beyond.
By 2025, an estimated 70 billion connected devices, including lights, smart meters, thermostats and wearable electronics, will be in service. Indeed, a recent report by McKinsey estimated these devices will be responsible for contributing an estimated $11 trillion to the global economy, while Gartner predicts IoT technology will be embedded in 95% of new electronic product designs by 2020. Clearly, easy-to-use IoT SOM starter kits are set to become a vital part of the industry, so be sure to choose wisely.

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